Monday, August 06, 2007

David Matas Reflects on Organ Harvesting and the Olympics

This is an excerpt from an interview with David Matas, co-author of 'Bloody Harvest' - a report on organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience in China.

Epoch Times: August 6, 2007 - ET: Speaking of consent, is there such a thing as consent for organ donation from a prisoner?

DM: No and this is something that the Transplantation Society has been very good at. They have put out a statement saying that there is no such thing as meaningful consent from a prisoner. Because of the restrictions of liberty in a prison environment, it is impossible to ascertain whether prisoners are truly free to make independent decisions, and thus an autonomous and informed consent for donation cannot be obtained. Therefore the Transplantation Society is opposed to any use of organs from executed prisoners. Obviously if you are dealing with Falun Gong practitioners, there is no consent, but whether it is a Falun Gong practitioner held prisoner or a death row inmate, it is unethical to take organs from either one of them.

ET: My final question, are you advocating a boycott of the Beijing games?

DM: Well what I'm advocating is an end to organ harvesting in China from Falun Gong practitioners, Now, I'm prepared to support any effort that would help that. If a boycott of the Olympic Games is used for that purpose, to advocate an end to this practice, I would say yes. To me it is inconsistent to the Olympic spirit to ignore this. There are different ways the Olympic games can be used to put the issue across, I would like to see the Olympic committee… well, as you know, there are a number of people in China who cannot participate in the Olympic games in any way, including Falun Gong practitioners. They can't compete, they can't coach, they can't attend, they can't even be in the neighborhood. I think the Olympic committee should be protesting that.

The Olympic games represent a form of contact with China, I think that we should take advantage of that contact to raise this issue, no matter who is being contacted and no matter in what context. This is happening because the people in China and the government of China are allowing it to happen, and if there is enough protest from enough people, both in and outside of China, it'll stop. The Olympic Games represent a way to get the message in or out—that this is happening. I think a boycott is one way of doing this.

ET: Thank you very much!
OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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